Portugal is among a group of more than 30 countries that support the extension of the suspension of Russian and Belarusian athletes from international sports competitions, according to a position released by the British Ministry of Culture.
In the statement signed by the Secretary of State for Youth and Sports, João Paulo Correia, the “ongoing support for Russian and Belarusian athletes to be banned from competing in international competitions for the duration of the war in Ukraine” is clear, in a new position strong internationally on the way to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
The statement on the subject comes from a meeting held on February 10th in the United Kingdom and which was attended by the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, who noted the destruction of sports infrastructure in his country and the loss of many athletes due to Russian invasion.
The statement also notes that sport and politics are “intimately linked” in Russia and Belarus, denoting “strong concerns about how feasible it is for Olympic athletes from these countries to compete as ‘neutrals’, when they are directly funded and supported by their states”. The exception in this regard is the professional tennis circuit.
“Until these fundamental issues are addressed, as well as the lack of substantial clarity and concrete details regarding a functional neutrality model, we do not agree that Russians and Belarusians can return to competition. Underlining the position of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), of that no final decision has been taken, we ask this body to respond to the questions that these countries pose”, can be read in the document.
This position responds to a “concern” with a “way to be explored that allows Russians and Belarusians to participate in competitions, including Paris 2024”, noting that the situation in Ukraine “continues to deteriorate” since these sportsmen were suspended , therefore there is no reason to change the measure.
In addition to Portugal, this position is signed by France, which hosts the next Olympic and Paralympic Games, but also by Greece, by Japan, which hosted Tokyo 2020, in addition to Italy and the sporting “powers” that are the United States, Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom.